A collection of nine stories by maverick Russian wordsmith Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, written by the author of The Gulag Archipelago in the early 1990s and considered to be some of his best works, are to be published in English for the first time.
The book, entitled Apricot Jam and Other Stories, is scheduled to come out in America and in the UK this fall, in what has already been described as one of the most highly-anticipated literary events of the year.
Solzhenitsyn’s widow, Natalia, who was his longtime friend and assistant, was quoted as saying that her husband always wanted these stories to be available in English.
“People think of Solzhenitsyn writing these huge books… with a thunderous voice. [With these stories], it’s a different voice. It’s not heavy-handed, even though these stories are full of moral import. They’re not preachy. They’re not didactic. They let the story convey certain historical and moral messages… We see a great literary craftsman and an historian at work,” Daniel J. Mahoney, a Solzhenitsyn scholar, told The Observer.
A rebel denouncing totalitarianism of the 20th Century, Soviet regime and Communism, Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in labor camps, was forced out of the Soviet Union in 1974 and condemned to 20 years in exile. He lived and worked in America, returning to Russia only in 1994 to spend the last 14 years of his life in his native country.
His classics, such as One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Cancer Ward, just to name a few, have been translated into 34 languages, published in 70 countries and sold 30 million copies, telling the world of the horrors of the Soviet police state and Stalin’s prison camps, which the Nobel Prize-winning writer had experienced firsthand.